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Do You Have the Courage to Lead Your Team With Learning?

Learning something new does not require enrolling in a certificate or a four-year degree program. Opportunities To Learn It can be a simple as: Learning a new app for a phone or mobile device.   Too often, we download a tool someone has recommended, but we don’t try to use it. A quick check of You Tube offers instructions showing how to use most new techniques. Reading a post on a blog that offers leasing, maintenance or marketing tips.   Then, sharing the information during the team meeting. Discovering a You Tube video with information on repairs or cleaning. Monitoring Instagram for the advertisement for a marketing competitor. Role Model This experience creates an impression on team members.  Someone respected makes time for learning.  Using self development or a practical application to solve a situation. When team members are creating goals for themselves, then establishing the steps to move themselves along the career path.  They observe and apply this example for their career development. “If I want to succeed in this industry, I need to learn about it.” Skills and education are not achieved by osmosis. Attending seminars, webinars, or reading resource material provide a foundation for the practical day-to-day application. This translates the knowledge to a skill. Leaders set the learning example.   Reinforcing the value of training and learning.  Otherwise, the team views their employment as an hourly job and is not invested to see training as career development.   Nor do they recognize the training as an invest......
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The One Amenity That Never Goes Out of Style

In the property and hospitality line, there is a constant rush to have the latest and trendiest amenities, from urban staples such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and business lounges – to more recent, trendy options such as creator studios, infrared saunas, and salt rooms. Yet amid all these investments into amenity space, another crucial yet often overlooked amenity is neglected – the service that occurs within these spaces. While creating space is all about size, square footage, and built-up area, service is what takes an environment from simply being “space” to being a “place”. “What’s the difference?” you may ask. Space is simply an area that may be available for use but may be unoccupied. A place is where people go to with a clear intent and purpose in mind – an area used and designated for specific experiences – just like how many cozy coffee shops have turned retail space into a “Third Place” for many people in between work and home. Service is what takes an environment from simply being “space” to being a “place”. Service is what makes the difference between a common noun and a proper noun – a subtle nuance, yes, but isn’t nuance what makes all the difference in tipping a brand’s scale? My partner Amy Blitz and I have worked on numerous amenity consulting projects and one of the first questions we are usually asked is about what kinds of new amenities renters, residents, and guests are looking for. Without hesitation, the first answer on our lips is usually – service. We believe t......
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The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?

The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?
In the property management industry, there is a technology to solve almost every problem.  From paying rent online to managing packages, the industry is bursting with solutions that tackle all the tedious aspects of being a property manager. But first, you have to find the vendor that’s right for your company, and that can be a tough task. The best way to whittle down your choice of vendors is to determine if you want to use an all-in-one or a best-in-breed solution. You may not be sure which one is the best fit for your business, so here are the pros and cons of each. First, let’s take a look at all-in-one solutions. All-in-one providers catering to the property management industry offer a combination of management, investment, marketing, leasing, and resident tools. All-In-One Pros An all-in-one solution can be an easy sell for some property management companies. The idea of a single platform being able to solve multiple challenges at once sounds very appealing, especially if you have limited internal resources. The IT requirements required to use an all-in-one provider may be reduced when a single vendor is used because there are fewer programs to maintain. If your team is not particularly tech savvy, only having to learn one platform can help avoid confusion among users of the software and shorten the learning curve. Plus, users will only need a single login to manage each application. Only having one technology vendor to juggle can be convenient, too. You’ll only have one ve......
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A Day in the Life of a “Smart” Apartment Renter

According to a study published on Business Insider in 2016, the average cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times each day. The modern individual’s reliance on technology stems further than just mobile devices. Everything from our cars to our watches and cell phones have an operating system today. So, what does an operating system look like in a smart apartment? It’s no secret that the smart home revolution is upon us. From the smart lock on the door to Wi-Fi thermostats, residents in smart homes and apartments are be able to customize their living spaces far beyond paintings hung on the walls or carpet on the floor. Home automation is used to describe devices that utilize connectivity and embedded sensors to complete common household tasks. With the implementation of home automation, a single-family resident is able to enter a personal pin code for their smart lock that opens the front door, which then triggers their music of choice to play on speakers, while the lights adjust to a relaxing preset, and the oven preheats for that night’s meal. The advent of the smart home has been made possible through the Internet of Things (IoT), which allows everyday objects to send and receive data, making home automation and related products easier to use and more affordable for the average renter. But it’s not just the desire of being on the cutting edge of technology and having the highest end amenities that attracts renters, owners and property managers to smart technol......
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Employee Incentives: What to do if they don’t work?

This is a tough one. Why don’t all employees just want to work hard and see their property and company succeed? Company success and resident customer service would be through the roof if all employees were engaged and empowered to perform. Unfortunately, as we all know, this simply isn’t the case. There are plenty of employees who do the bare minimum, following what I call the “good enough” mantra.  Those are the employees that we want to work for the competition! It is common practice within our industry – and, really, many industries – to offer work incentives to elicit high performance. From pay incentives and awards to extra time off and other perks, employers are offering various ways to empower their team members to outperform. Most of the time, this is all you need to ensure your teams are producing results and leasing apartments. But what happens when incentives aren’t working? Yes, the typical response is to simply let that person go, and I would argue that most of the time that probably is the best bet. However, I believe there are ways to re-engage some employees to get them back into empowered performance. Before letting a really good employee go, consider the following steps: Re-Assess: Ask yourself, how often to do you truly conduct employee assessment? I am not talking about employee reviews, but actually assessing their skill set and how it relates to their current job functions and responsibilities. Is it possible the underperforming employee is doing so because the job doesn’t m......
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You Are Being Watched!

Cameras are in use on every street corner, in most businesses, in theaters, maybe even in our churches. I hope not in hotel rooms. Privacy is no longer a privilege when we have baby and nanny cams, shoplifting cams, dressing room cams; restaurant cams; red light cams, the list is endless.  There are both positives and negatives to this lack of privacy.  Recently I read that a couple had cameras in the their apartment which they could could check from their IPhones.  Sadly, a resident watched a pest control person come in, sit down, play with his IPhone, then get up and walk out.  The pest control was not done, but when the manager checked the invoice, the property was charged for spraying.  On a different property a resident checked his camera and found two strangers having sex in his bedroom.  That shocking scene resulted in a move out.  Another resident , different property, recorded an employee taking a bottle of fine whiskey from the kitchen.   There are a couple of points here. 1. Live your life, run your business, do your job as though someone is watching you.    2.  Warn your employees and vendors that they most likely are being observed while on and in your property.   It is sad that our world has come to this, and it will become even more invasive.  Watch the Tom Hanks movie, The Circle.  Next week a new television series is starting featuring how to get the entire world involved,......
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How to Fix Slow Internet, Generate Revenue and Ditch the “Cable Guys” With a Multifamily Internet Service

An Educational Series for Apartments, HOA’s and Co-Op’s: Part II “Pure Internet”   Pure Internet, the refreshing, no hassle experience of fast, fiber backed“Internet That Just Works”. It flows like the crystal clean rivers in the Glacier Mountains, unpolluted by the impurities of the big cities. It rushes to its destination, shimmering off the rocks with a turquoise clarity. Pure Internet is an unadulterated network of low latency paths, moving data directly and efficiently to its endpoint. Traveling unobstructed by bottlenecks or inefficiencies; safely and securely arriving to its destination.  The pipes are bountiful, clean and safe; the obstacles that litter most networks have been removed. The end-user is left with a great sense of freedom, ease and gratitude from the Internet experience, so much so they may even begin to take it for granted.    In contrast, in part one; we discussed the current “Dirty City Water” Internet experience that most Americans are accustomed to. In short; you have been sold Internet speeds that are not really speeds at all but rather capacity, on an oversubscribed network.  Speeds that are asymmetrical, transmitting over antiquated wiring technology, first used 100 years ago. You have “hired” yourself to configure your network, trying desperately to fend off dirty data and professional hackers with an over-the-counter router. You call for support and reach your, “not-so friendly” monopolistic ISP who has no financial incentive to improve the situation. For an “arm-and-a-leg” they promise they will give it their “best effort”; however they seem to be having a hard enough time fix......
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Six Suggestions For Resident Retention

time-to-renewMany property management reports focus on occupancy. Every week, how many move ins will you have? What do you have as preleases? The number of lease renewals is also important. Renewal is a Satisfaction Indicator Securing the move in is only the first step toward building a relationship with a new resident. As time goes by, one of the true indicators of property success is the number of residents that renew their leases. Residents demonstrate their satisfaction at a property when they make the decision to continue living in their apartment home.  Residents who are frustrated with poor maintenance, lack of follow up, poor communication and yes sometimes rent increases, may never call the leasing office to ask questions or voice concerns, they simply turn in a move out notice and move away. Renewals Reduce Turnover, Reduce Expenses Reducing turnover has the potential to save a property thousands of dollars in expenses. In addition to the rent loss from a vacant apartment and advertising costs, consider the time for the maintenance team to complete the turnover process  preparing the apartment for the new move in. The combination of labor, supplies and lost rent can quickly total $1000 or more for each move out. Imagine if each month you were able to convert one move out notice to a lease renewal. This could save $12,000 in maintenance expenses! The decision to renew or move is strongly influenced by the performance of the leasing and maintenance staff, not the potential increase in ......
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Setting Expectations and Supporting Your Marketing Team for Success

  As you learned in part one of this two-part series, “Building and Leading a High-Performance Marketing Team,” you need to structure your team for success, building accountability and transparency into the process.   Once you have established the ground rules for your team, you need to be sure that each member contributes to the best of their ability and that everything runs smoothly. This includes recognizing achievements on an individual and team basis, establishing a clear mission and goals for the team, communicating effectively with team members, and creating opportunities for professional development and growth.   Recognition and advancement. You can’t lead a high-performance team without incentivizing performance. If everyone is treated the same regardless of output, you’re going to cultivate a culture of mediocrity. That’s why it’s important to offer strong incentives for high performers.   Verbal recognition in front of the team, division meetings and in front of senior leadership. Give credit where credit is due. Additionally, encourage every team member to recognize their coworkers—it shouldn’t just come from leadership. This recognition builds collaboration and appreciation into your team culture. Offer non-pay incentives, such as extra time off, additional remote working days, happy hours/team events and gifts to reward exceptional performance. Advancement is critical. You’re not going to keep strong performers if you don’t actively grow them into their next role. Every person on your team should have specific career goals. You should know those goals, whether they are short or long term, and you should actively look to advance each......
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Top 7 Questions Before You Run A Screening Report On A Potential New Resident

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A RELEVANT CRIME? Many property owners/managers see a background report as being more important than a credit report. You really must know who you are bringing into your community, as you have a responsibility to the rest of your residents. When you allow someone into your community who could potentially could bring harm to the other residents or the property, it can do a lot of damage to your investment in a short amount of time. HAVE YOU EVER BROKEN A RENTAL AGREEMENT? OR RECEIVED A NOTICE TO PERFORM OR QUIT? If they tell you they have broken a lease ask them what happened. Sometimes circumstances dictate it to be necessary. I would recommend talking to the property management company to confirm all reason are correct and true. It will allow you to feel positive about your decision. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN EVICTED, OR EVER HAD AN UNLAWFUL DETAINER FILED AGAINST YOU? If they answer yes to this one, you need to dig deeper into the “why” of this situation. There are circumstances sometimes which can be explained. Maybe their current financial situation has gotten better. You shouldn’t automatically just toss them out. MONTHLY INCOME? The quick rule of thumb which many properties use is monthly income should be 3X the rent.  This may vary though based upon the asset class, and what other financial obligations the prospective resident has. HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE LIVING IN THE UNIT? This one seems like a no bra......
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